2018-08-14 training log

Pretty decent day.

Benching went well. I’m enjoying the competition bench/rack, especially how the bench pad covering is so tacky — I can really get into AND STAY in position. I am finding myself making small changes to technique to work with this. It’s also really nice to have more fine adjustments in rack height — less disturbance to the shoulders and position when unracking the bar.

And so then more benching. Moar. More volume right now, that will decrease as the cycles wear on. I picked a weight that’s a little more than 50% in an effort to not get a clean 5×10.

I’m also not supersetting as much. In part it’s driven by equipment realities at the gym, but also I’m wanting to move away from it. It’s a fine technique at times, but I get more out of things when I can focus on the thing vs. the 2nd exercise getting less out of it because fatigued and not from that exercise. Not totally abandoning because of time limits, but some.

Dropped Krocs in favor of regular DB rows. I need to up the weight, but it’s a nice variation.

I was to do curl-grip pulldowns, but my arms/shoulders weren’t feeling it – so narrow grip it was. I’m also adding a little more warm-up work to help me ease into things – happier joints and tendons.

I’m also trying to drop the rest time between sets. Bigger movements like benching, same 2-3 minutes. But the assistance work? Trying to move to 60-90 seconds.

I gotta admit, feeling a wee beat up. I want to push as much as I can and see about making at least 3 cycles here. After that, I’ll adjust. I’m starting to think a good idea might be knowing 1RM-ish, taking 85% for an EDM, then doing 3 cycles in a more hypertrophy orientation such as 5’s PRO and a lot of assistance work. And also, taking a bit of a cut diet. I would expect this should not set me back too much in terms of long-term progress, and help me overall wave through a good long-term approach.

5/3/1 (4th cycle, leader-1, 5/3/1+PR sets)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 5
    • 110 x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 160 x 3
    • 175 x 5
    • 200 x 5
    • 230 x 8
    • 155 x 10
    • 155 x 10
    • 155 x 8
    • 155 x 6
    • 155 x 6
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 20e x 15
    • 20e x 15
    • 20e x 15
    • 20e x 15
  • DB Rows (superset with bench work sets)
    • 75 x 12e
    • 75 x 12e
    • 75 x 12e
  • Narrow-Grip Pulldowns
    • 90 x 10
    • 120 x 15
    • 120 x 12
    • 120 x 8
  • Rope-Handle Pushdowns (superset with curls)
    • 100 x 20
    • 100 x 20
    • 100 x 13
    • 100 x 10
  • Cross-Body Alternating DB Curls
    • 35e x 12e
    • 35e x 12e
    • 35e x 10e
    • 35e x 8e
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

2018-08-13 training log

It wasn’t the day I wanted, but it was the day I got.

New cycle starts today. 5+ day. Looking at numbers, I was hoping for at least 7 maybe 8 reps. I got 6. Ugh.

It’s all me. Went out of town on Saturday, didn’t eat well. Then Sunday was a lot of sleeping and poor eating just the same. It all showed up today. On top of that, I’ve been trying to work on my cues, especially since there’s no more mirror for feedback. Alas, the cues have been throwing me off and today I told myself to “just squat like you do” but I can still implement the cues to some extent. So it was better, but still off.

Just shit for me to work on. Some days aren’t great, and today was one of them.

Pause squats were happy and fun tho. I’m glad I chose them because 1. they should help me, 2. for sure they can help me on the technique part — in fact, on the 5th set I was really feeling some better groove of technique. So yeah, I expect this will be helpful over time.

As well, I opted last night to change my approach to assistance work. Instead of ramping up over the weeks, I’m going to start high and ramp down. I’m nearing maxes and the need for a reset. So intensities are going up and nearing my threshold, so it stands to reason I should ramp down the assistance work to aid in recovery, etc.

And on some of the assistance work, I’m adding in a warm-up set because for some, just diving right in isn’t keeping my joints happy.

Anyways, we’ll see how this goes.

5/3/1 (4th cycle, leader-1, 5/3/1+PR sets)

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 5
    • 140 x 5
    • 175 x 5
    • 205 x 3
    • 225 x 5
    • 250 x 5
    • 295 x 6
  • Pause Squats
    • 225 x 3
    • 225 x 3
    • 225 x 3
    • 225 x 3
    • 225 x 3
  • 1-Leg Leg Press
    • Sled x 20e
    • Sled x 20e
    • Sled x 16e
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way overhead)
    • 25 x 12
    • 45 x 20
    • 45 x 13
    • 45 x 12
  • Reverse Curls
    • 20 x 12
    • 70 x 10
    • 70 x 10
    • 70 x 7
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

Sunday Metal – Toxic Holocaust

Toxic Holocaust with “Acid Fuzz”

2018-08-10 training log

Today ends both the deload AND this first mesocycle. It was productive, fun, and I’m looking forward to the next 3 months.

Since I’ve been using the “new” powerlifting equipment all week, I opted to finish out the week with the same for Press.

It was different.

First, I felt really naked. No rack, no catch/spotter/saver bars, no nothing — just out in space lifting. Then, because of where the racks are located relative to the group classes, I had a LOT of visual traffic to contend with. It wasn’t a big deal for squatting – there’s a half-wall, eyes are somewhat down, and I’m squtting down so the wall is most of what I see. But here? I’m standing up, eyes are forward, and all the traffic was literally in front of my face. I’m not mad at the people in the group class — they gotta do their stuff too! It’s just stuff, and there’s potential for people to get a little too close for comfort. So pressing may be something I continue to do in the main racks on the other side of the gym. But squat, bench, deadlift? Yeah, I’m going to continue in the powerlifting area for now.

Otherwise, today was today. Just some deload lifts, light accessory work. I did make one change at the end. Instead of the lying triceps extensions, I opted to do JM Presses. Why? Just for variety, and something a bit heavier — most of my other triceps work is higher rep, so this I’ll probably keep in the 8-ish range.

Anyways, next week is setting up to be fun!

5/3/1 (3rd cycle, anchor, 3/5/1, PR, Jokers, FSL; modified for knee rehab)

  • Press
    • bar x 5
    • 75 x 5
    • 95 x 5
    • 115 x 3
    • 135 x 3
    • 155 x 2
    • 175 x 1
    • 135 x 10
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with press warm-up sets)
    • 20e x 10
    • 20e x 10
    • 20e x 10
    • 20e x 10
  • Normal-grip Pulldowns (superset with press work sets)
    • 145 x 10
    • 145 x 10
    • 145 x 10
  • Barbell Rows (superset with press FSL sets)
    • 165 x 8
  • JM Press
    • 95 x 10
  • BB Curl
    • 45 x 20

2018-08-09 training log

An informative day.

First, deadlifts were using the “new” equipment. So an Ohio Deadlift bar, competition collars (weighing 2.5kg each), calibrated plates, and the gym’s dedicated deadlifting platform.

The deadlift bar didn’t make a HUGE difference. It’s a hair smaller diameter, which was nice. The fact it bends a bit more didn’t really affect me — I’m not lifting heavy enough for that to matter. Started to matter with the 405, but meh. The competition collars were nice – they held securely. But then yes, at 2.5kg each it actually adds 11lb to all the weights listed below (so I really topped out at 416 not 405). The dedicated platform was ok — I have to be careful tho, because the loops/hooks for bands are something I’m going to trip over one of these days. There’s also a good bounce when the plates hit, which is nice for noise and actually feels less jarring on the arms and body, but it also causes some bounce and loss of grip so I do have to readjust between reps. Not a big deal; like all things this week just one more thing to get used to and adapt to.

Belt squats – I continue to experiment here. I think I’m getting to a weight were I need a small work-up to ease my knees into it. It’s still not crazy heavy weight, just was a bit jarring the first few reps — so a small workup should help.

And then… I finally found a way. A way to make reverse hypers work! I’ve wanted to do reverse hypers for a long time, especially since I’m at a gym that has such a machine. I think they would be not only good for my glutes and hams and such, but also the traction they bring should help my lower back. Thing is, I’ve got some weird situation (nerve?) in my posterior chain that causes me pain. Like I can’t lie on my back and do flutter kicks, and then the bottom position of the reverse hyper just kills me. Again, it feels like some sort of nerve issue. Well – all of this unilateral work got me thinking about doing reverse hypers 1-leg.

Sure enough, that worked! I just started light and did some light work to experiment. This was not trying to work ,it was trying to see if I could make this work! And yes, as the weight got a little heavier, I could feel at the bottom a little bit of that nerve pain, but really not much — it was very workable. So I think this could work for me! Interestingly, even with this light work, after I was done I felt some effects in my posterior chain. So yeah!

Louie Simmons generally recommends 50% of your best squat for like 4 sets of 10-20 reps. A little heavier and lower reps for strength, and a little lighter and more reps for the rehab days. Of course, I’ll have to adjust that for 1-leg. So if my best (to my knowledge) squat is 355, that would be basically 175, so 1-leg maybe 85? But I did 100 today. I might stick with 75 or 100 and see how that goes for 3-4 sets of up to 20 reps.

We’ll see where this takes me.

So as a result, my thinking for the next couple mesocycles on deadlift day will be:

  • Deadlift 5/3/1
  • Belt squats – pyramid up, with the top set being maybe 6-8 reps ish
  • 1-leg Reverse hypers – 3-4 sets, 10-20 reps

Something like that, and just see how it goes. This remains a lot of experimenting.

Anyways, everything else was just what it was. Deload.

5/3/1 (3rd cycle, anchor, 3/5/1, PR, Jokers, FSL; modified for knee rehab)

  • Deadlift
    • 185 x 5
    • 225 x 5
    • 275 x 3
    • 315 x 3
    • 365 x 2
    • 405 x 1
  • Band Pullaparts (superset with deadlift warmups and work)
    • Not tracked
  • Belt Squats
    • 180 x 10
  • Reverse Hypers
    • no
  • 1-leg Reverse Hypers
    • 25 x 10e
    • 50 x 10e
    • 75 x 10e
    • 100 x 10e
  • Upright rows
    • 45 x 5
    • 95 x 5
    • 135 x 5
  • 1-Arm Cable Curls
    • 40 x 12e
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

2018-08-07 training log

Deload continues.

Alas, my shoulder/arm issues flared up. A bit on the arms, but really in the shoulders. It makes it clear this is a shoulder/upper back problem.

And I know what’s a primary driver — posture.

Day job has been unrelenting and I’m not in the happiest of moods. As a result, I find myself slouching a lot. Of course I know this contributes to the problems, but you’re not always thinking about strict posture when you’re day isn’t going well. It’s just crazy tho how a few days of bad posture throws everything off for me. Sigh. I think I’ll pull out my Thompson/Spud Bowtie and see how it helps me out here.

Anyways… it didn’t affect benching too much. Used the nice powerlifting equipment again, which was a joy. Worked up to a reasonable single. Kept everything else pretty light and easy.

I was doing pulldowns, but then when I went for my second set saw some other people had taken over the pulldown stations. I didn’t feel like bothering with it, so I just went to a bar and did 3 pullups (each set). It was nice to see I could do them so easily, but it cost me a bit — the second set irritated my arms and shoulders more. Ugh. So, pulldowns it remains. It’s one downside to supersetting — I don’t like “reserving” all the equipments, but then you run into situations like this (and yeah I could work in in theory, but I’ve tried that a couple times with these folks and I think I scare them) 😉

Anyways, all good. I’ve been over-exaggerating my posture since I left the gym and things are feeling better. Crazy.

5/3/1 (3rd cycle, anchor, 3/5/1, PR, Jokers, FSL; modified for knee rehab)

  • Bench Press
    • bar x 5
    • 105 x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 3
    • 195 x 3
    • 225 x 2
    • 240 x 1
    • 135 x 20
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with bench warm-up sets)
    • 20e x 10
    • 20e x 10
    • 20e x 10
    • 20e x 10
  • Neutral-Grip Pulldowns (superset with bench work sets)
    • 145 x 12
    • 3 pullups
    • 3 pullups
  • DB Rows (superset with the last bench AMRAP set)
    • 70 x 10e
  • Rope Handle Pushdowns
    • 100 x 20
  • Cross-body alternating Hammer Curls (superset with pushdowns)
    • 35e x 10e
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

2018-08-06 training log

Deload week.

I opted for this deload to work up to a reasonably heavy but not bad single. Just warm-up sets, then a triple, a double, and a single. Just something that gets me up there in the weights but nothing really stressful nor strenuous. So today worked up to 315 for a single and that was fine.

This will be my basic order of business all week for the deload: work up to a reasonable single. Then, any additional work will just be something light but also starting to experiment and groove for next cycle. For example, I’m going to add in pause squats because I do want some more squats for that volume and work, and I think pause squats will serve me best right now to help with my tightness and “confidence in (and out) of the hole” issues. So this week is some light experimentation to see how things will groove out.

One fun change too?

I opted to try out the “new” powerlifting equipment at the gym. That is, instead of using standard olympic plates and the power racks, using the calibrated plates, a Texas Strength Systems combo rack, a Texas Power Bar, etc. — the University of Texas Longhorns Powerlifting team is now officially based out of Ignite Fitnez, so all their equipment is here and we’re allowed to use it (except during team training time, which is evenings and thus not a confict for me).

It was different in a good way. The equipment itself was like butter. Really enjoyed using it. There are currently 3 combo racks and I’ll cycle through them all to see which I end up preferring (they’re all basically the same but each slightly different). All in all, I dug it and am likely to stick with them for squatting, benching, and deadlifting – Pressing may stay over in the power racks because of logistics.

One downside? The power racks are in front of a mirrored wall (and back at my prior gym, in front of the windows) — so I’ve always had some sort of visual feedback. This is a blessing and a curse, but now? No such thing — what’s in front of me is a big area of the gym. So I’m going to have to get better with my own body awareness here (squat depth); probably use video to help me mind this. Learn to trust what I’m feeling and not demand at least a hint of visual confirmation, y’know?

But then the flip side of this is the area where these racks are is up front. So there’s a lot of foot traffic, potentially right in front of your eyes. It actually didn’t cause me much problem today, because I tend to angle my eyes downward when squatting, so it wasn’t a big deal — but the gym was only medium-busy — it’ll be interesting to see how other group classes and a more busy gym affect this. Plus being up front like that, it felt like I was in a fish bowl or a zoo – on display for everyone coming into the gym to watch and see. I mean, not like people can’t watch you anyways, but it just felt more “on display”. Plus, it was right up against where the big “shelves” are that people put their stuff – we’ll see how socially distracting it becomes (e.g. will people want to talk – I tend to avoid chit-chat, because I’m working).

Don’t get me wrong – the benefits outweigh everything. It’s mostly that today was novel and new, and in time I’ll adjust and it won’t be a big deal.

5/3/1 (deload

  • Squat (superset with band pullaparts)
    • bar x 5
    • 135 x 5
    • 165 x 5
    • 200 x 3
    • 225 x 3
    • 275 x 2
    • 315 x 1
  • Band Pullaparts
    • Not tracked
  • Pause Squats
    • 225 x 3
    • 225 x 3
  • 1-Leg Leg Press
    • 45 x 10e
  • Front Plate Raises (all the way overhead)
    • 45 x 10
  • Reverse Curls
    • 70 x 12
  • Stationary Bike
    • 10 min

Sunday Metal – Red Fang

Red Fang with “Not For You”

2018-08-03 training log

Today was OK.

I hit decent numbers, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted. My breathing was all off for whatever reason, which affects my setup, which affects my stability, and everything from there. And this was new: all 5 reps of the 175 were literally shaking — my legs were all jittery. Never had that before.

Not totally unhappy with the 5, but I wanted at least 6.

Then during the 185 I originally planned for 1, but did 2 because I was upset at the prior set and I felt I could do it. Should have gone for 3 because… but oh well. Not part of the plan.

So, it was what it was.

Everything else was groovy. I was running out of gas, towards the end but kept pushing. I mean, I didn’t want to do biceps curls — something’s seriously wrong. 😉 But yeah, that pooped.

I wish I could take a mid-day nap, but current work project is unrelenting. Still, I need to find a way to work it in – it’ll do me a lot of good. I’m glad next week is deload.

5/3/1 (3rd cycle, anchor, 3/5/1, PR, Jokers, FSL; modified for knee rehab)

  • Press
    • bar x 5
    • 75 x 5
    • 95 x 5
    • 110 x 3
    • 140 x 5
    • 155 x 3
    • 175 x 5 (PR set)
    • 185 x 2 (Joker set)
    • 140 x 5
    • 140 x 5
    • 140 x 5
  • Bent-over Lateral Raises (superset with press warm-up sets)
    • 20e x 15
    • 20e x 15
    • 20e x 15
    • 20e x 15
  • Normal-grip Pulldowns (superset with press work sets)
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 12
    • 145 x 10
  • Barbell Rows (superset with press FSL sets)
    • 165 x 10
    • 165 x 10
    • 165 x 10
  • Lying Triceps Extensions
    • 80 x 12
    • 80 x 12
    • 80 x 8
  • BB Biceps Curl (100 rep protocol)
    • 45 x 100

2018-08-02 training log

This was a pretty good day. Set more rep PR’s.

It’s also testimony that even if you don’t feel like going, you go. This is the difference between motivation and discipline. I still don’t find myself as disciplined as I want to be, but I am better than I was before — and here’s a place it manifests. I’m feeling run down, I know I could use a break, but I go. The lifts all felt heavy, each one sowed a seed of doubt if I could hit the weight of the next set — but I know I can, so I set the doubt aside, and I set a PR.

Just keep going.

It’s not about “feeling like it”. It’s about wanting results and doing what it takes to achieve them, even if you don’t feel like it — you do feel like achieving your goals, don’t you?

I worked up to 420. Looked at my history and saw that 5 reps would make an all time rep PR – so that was my goal. Hitting it was heavy but actually went quite well — I felt like I could have done at least 2 more reps, but I hit my goal so I shut it down.

Then I saw that if I did 440 for 2, that’d also be a rep PR at that weight. So I did that. I thought about continuing with the Jokers, but no — I said this week was just 1 Joker set for a single, or a double if things were really humming.

All in all, went well. Looking at trends (hooray for graphs and stats in RepCount!), everything continues to go up and progress well. I’m happy.

Belt squats are finding a groove. Let the belt hang pretty much straight down, heels shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly out — basically be comfortably positioned. Curl the toes up to ensure weight is back on the heels. Squat deeper than parallel, and go. It’s feeling good, so I’m just going to stay here and keep upping the weight to see where it gets me. Still not 100% sure if it’s truly benefiting me, but now that I’m finding a groove with the movement I want to keep going to see where it takes me.

Everything else was what it was, just assistance work.

That all said, thinking ahead:

Next week is deload. I’m going to take it easy. I might work up to a bit of work but nothing big. I’ll cut assistance work back, but I also want to experiment. Mostly the lower body days I want to experiment. I want to see about going with either front squats or pause squats instead of leg presses, tho I would then keep leg presses towards higher reps and ditch leg extensions. I also want something different for my hamstrings. I’d like to ditch the leg curls and see if the reverse hyper is going to work for me. I have some weird lower-back/leg issues that cause me some serious discomfort at times – last time I tried the reverse hyper it wasn’t good. BUT, I’d like to see if 1-leg might be workable, so I’m going to do some experimenting next week to see. If it works, I’ll go that route and see where it takes me. If it all fails, I’ll probably do something like stiff-leg deadlifts.

So it’s looking like this, at least for the 6 weeks after deload:

  • Traditional 5/3/1, with that weekly progress and PR sets (not AMRAP, but PR)
  • 6-week cycle
  • Squat supplemental may be front squats or pause squats, probably 3×3 or 3×5 depending
  • Deadlift supplemental depends: if I can do reverse hypers the belt squats are supplemental and reverse hypers accessory; if I can’t, then probably stiff-legs for supplemental and belt squats for accessory
  • Bench supplemental will likely remain more benching tho not the 5×5 FSL approach – I’m thinking more “hypertrophy” type, probably picking something out of Beyond 5/3/1. TBD
  • Press supplemental, same.
  • Accessory work will remain mostly the same tho maybe some light variations. For example, change my pulldown grip; regular DB rows instead of Krocs, cable or DB upright rows instead of BB, etc. Mostly the same, just variations.

5/3/1 (3rd cycle, anchor, 3/5/1, PR, Jokers, FSL; modified for knee rehab)

  • Deadlift
    • 185 x 5
    • 225 x 5
    • 265 x 3
    • 335 x 5
    • 380 x 3
    • 420 x 5 (rep PR!)
    • 440 x 2 (Joker, & rep PR!)
  • Band Pullaparts (superset with deadlift warmups and work)
    • Not tracked
  • Belt Squats
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
  • Seated Leg Curls
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 10
    • 125 x 9
  • Upright rows
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 10
  • 1-arm supinating cable curls
    • 35 x 12e
    • 35 x 12e
    • 35 x 12e